This medication is usually injected into a vein. However, this product comes in vials which may also be given by mouth to treat a severe intestinal condition known as Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. This condition can rarely occur after the use of antibiotics has allowed the growth of a certain kind of resistant bacteria in the intestines, leading to severe diarrhea. When vancomycin is given by mouth, it is not absorbed by the body but remains in the intestines, allowing it to stop the growth of the bacteria. (See also How to Use section.)
This medication is usually given by injection into a vein, usually 1 or 2 times a day or as directed by your doctor. It should be injected slowly over 1 to 2 hours. The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, kidney function, and response to treatment. (See also Side Effects.)
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
When taking this medication by mouth, mix each dose into at least 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of water before swallowing all of the mixture.
Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
Continue to use this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
If this medication is injected too fast, a condition known as "red man syndrome" may occur. Tell your doctor promptly if you have symptoms such as flushing of the upper body, dizziness, low blood pressure, or muscle pain/spasms of the chest and back.
Pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site may occur. These effects may be reduced by injecting this medication more slowly. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: ringing in the ears, hearing problems, change in the amount of urine, easy bleeding/bruising, fever, persistent sore throat, persistent diarrhea.
Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using vancomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, hearing problems, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., inflammatory disorders of the intestines).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at a greater risk for hearing or kidney problems while using this drug.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: cidofovir, drugs that may harm the kidneys (amphotericin B, cisplatin, polymyxin, colistin, aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, tobramycin), other antibiotics, live bacterial vaccines.
If you will be undergoing treatment requiring anesthesia, tell the doctor/dentist you have been using vancomycin.
Although most antibiotics probably do not affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, some antibiotics may decrease their effectiveness. This could cause pregnancy. Examples include rifamycins such as rifampin or rifabutin. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should use additional reliable birth control methods while using this antibiotic.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney function, vancomycin blood levels, cultures, complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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